Conflicts behind 24% increase in refugees

Second half of year likely to be even higher GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The number of refugees arriving in Europe continued to rise in the first half of 2014, displaced by fighting in Syria and Iraq but also Afghanistan and Eritrea. Figures released Friday 26 September by the UN refugee organization in Geneva, the UNHCR,  show […]

Swiss add CHF20 milllion to Syrian aid funds

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland is increasing its humanitarian aid funds for Syria by CHF20 million to CHF50m for 2014, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter said 23 September, “in view of the constantly deteriorating situation – with almost 14 million people in Syria and its neighbouring states now in need of aid.” The additional funds, announced at […]

22 million natural hazard refugees last year

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Three times as many people were displaced by natural hazard events as by conflicts in 2013, according to a study published 17 September by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The study is being presented to the UN in New York today by the NRC’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. The centre’s report shows, based […]

IP decisions: Google and Napster happy winners

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Google is a company, not a verb – unless you mean to google using Google. Thus spoke the US District Court for Arizona,  this week, Geneva-based IP Watch reports. The decision came in a case involving a couple who had registered 763 domain names that all included the word “google”. The court […]

Up to 160 may be lost at sea off Libya (update)

UNHCR warns “we need to wake up”, with 2,500 drownings this year GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Yet another large boat carrying families who are fleeing Syria capsized in the Mediterranean over the weekend, with 37 people rescued out of an estimated 200 on board the vessel. The accident just off the coast of Libya was one […]

News roundup: UNHRC boss, designer, cow attacks, Jungfraubahn

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The new UN Human Rights Commissioner stepped into office this week: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein from Jordan, takes over from Navi Pillay, who completed six years in the job. Zeid has served in a number of high diplomatic posts, most recently as Jordan’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York. He […]

Record gas emissions in 2014 says WMO

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – “The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide”, says the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in a statement issued Tuesday. The measurements are published as part of the annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which reports on atmospheric concentrations, […]

Swiss top competitiveness rankings again

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland has been named the world’s most competitive nation by the World Economic Forum, for the sixth year running. Singapore is again in second place. Rankings The WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, which surveys 144 economies, says the “global economy seems to be finally leaving behind the worst and longest-lasting financial and […]

Nearly half of Syrians have fled home

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Number of refugees reaches daunting 3 million as situation deteriorates GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The news from Syria has been so dismal for so long that you begin to think the numbers can’t shock anymore, but they do: nearly than half of all Syrians have now fled their homes because of the fighting and the number […]

Indian Ocean refugees: 20,000 so far this year

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – More than 20,000 people have risked their lives as refugees trying to cross the Indian Ocean, often paying $50 to 300 each to human smugglers – who then, in some cases, herded them into camps where they were forced to contact relatives back home for ransoms. The figures are part of a […]